Posts Tagged ‘living room’

Last year at Christmas time I was very judgmental with the Christmas decorations. This year I had a very liberal “open” policy and as a result every bulb, candle, or anything slightly resembling holiday cheer was unearthed from its newspaper wrapping and set OUT. Note the folding chairs around our dining room table…sigh.

Living Room, First Christmas

Living Room, First Christmas


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Interior Fun

It’s interesting to look back at the past three years and all of the changes that we’ve made to the interior of our home. Here is the living room with the trim and dark brown moulding complete in the living room. In this room sits my very first piece of brand-new showroom furniture: a 1950s inspired sofa from Macy’s…Macy’s!! I still can’t believe that I own a piece of furniture that isn’t from an antique store (or gleaned from around the corner!).


…pretty close to how it looked when we sold…prior to de-cluttering of course!




And here’s what our living room looked like before:

Remember Tube TVs? We have one.

Remember Tube TVs? We have one.



Small but it works

Small but it works








...another iteration...

…another iteration…






Probably the room that we are most excited about is our daughter’s new room in the attic. My husband really went overboard with his do-it-himself talents…he always amazes me with his sheer ability to do everything…the carpentry work, electrical, paint, coordinating and picking out colors. All the while I’m back there yapping…

For her room, we repurposed pretty much everything. The only new things we bought included: a new mattress for her first”big girl bed,” and carpeting from Costco. My husband and his sister painted the room pink, purple, and white. I’ll post more pictures of the detail work which really makes this room special. For me, it was the first time that I actually considered using a real color-scheme in how I decorated it (with my daughter’s help of course!). Every single thing in this room is either white, pink, or purple and I think that concentration helped tie the room together. Since it is a small space with compromised height, having a trio of colors instead of a large assortment of colors really helps the room (and playroom) appear larger and more organized.

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So my husband is traveling for the entire next week and his recent business trip is what got me started on this blog in the first place. My only request from his 2-page mile-long to-do list on the world’s longest legal pad ever (see example A), was that the furniture be some-what put back in place before he departed.

Example A: “World’s Longest Legal Pad”

The prospect of navigating not only a week of daycare drop-offs and pick-ups solo but also the couch in the middle of the room was just a bit too much. I presumed that coating trim with polyurethane was very similar to top coat on a manicure: one coat should do the trick. It wasn’t until we took the Des Plaines traffic circle at 40 miles per hour that Jim told me “…no, it takes 3 coats of poly” that I started to panic. 3 coats of poly? After filling and sanding all the nail holes and touching up with stain, and re-doing that entire process again? This project was a wee-bit more than I presumed when I crafted our original to-do list. Sometimes I wonder why we take these huge things on. But when I go home tonight, tired, and look at our living room in the making and imagine setting everything up I know how sweet it will be. At least I hope so!

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So when we started this mini-construction project I imagined working hard during the day, then settling into a nice glass of vino, my MacBook perched on my lap while I typed up the memories. Sure. In reality by the time our day of work was done, I was exhausted. The vino wasn’t to enjoy, it was to relax and conk out in front of the couch while American Idol hummed into the empty room with the two of us passed out from exhaustion on the couch. After 1 week back to work, and our routine blissfully back in place, I’m able to step back and look around and say, my god. We’ve only just begun!

The trim is installed in both the living room and dining room. Filling nail holes in trim is work. It’s not just slapping some like-colored puddy in a hole and calling it a day. Wood is finicky. If you don’t fill the nail holes exactly with the right consistency of puddy/saw dust, you end up with halos surrounding the nail hole. Beautiful. So on this lovely dark stained wood we could feasibly end up with tiny circles everywhere. Fortunately Jim tested the application on a bunk piece of wood that he happily pierced a dozen times (strictly for test purposes) with his air nailer.  I woke up this morning to Jim telling me that he filled all the nail holes last night. A 4-hour project. I stared down the 14’ board and you couldn’t see a damn nail hole if you tried. What a man.

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I think I’ve lost count of what day we’re on or how many days we’re “of.” There are two ways to do things: the right way and the fast way. First off, we learned that (well, I learned that) trim work is hard. There are easy ways to do trim but with all the precise measurements it’d still be hard no matter if you use pre-finished or you painted. Not only are “bad cuts” (we’re talking .16 of an inch as a qualifier here) frustrating, they’re expensive. One bad cut can leave you $50 in the hole. So, it’s a little tenuous.

The trim we chose ended up being much (much) darker than I anticipated. But as Bob Ross says, “There’s no such things as mistakes. Just happy accidents.” Our room will be dramatic, hopefully, when we’re done. But trim is like a rash. It is everywhere you look. The door frames, the window sills, it’s friggin everywhere! So our “happy accidents” are future window panes.

I’m done searching JC Penny’s website for cool Roman Shades. I’m done trying to figure out what color curtains would fit our mood, style, or budget. I’m putting my faith in IKEA’s Roman Shades department to find something unique and trendy but yet changeable. Because unless I’m willing to pay $250 a each for custom shades, I’m not going to be happy. And that ain’t happening. Not this house. I’m just not ready to pull the trigger on something like that when I’m just not sure that this is our forever home. I’m thinking that with our nice black trim, velvet-white walls, and light floor that white Romans would look best and least unfettered. We’ll see 🙂 [Many years’ side not later….I ended up getting $15 Roman shades from Menards…they ended up fitting the windows perfectly!]

Meanwhile, I found this lamp in our basement…We picked it up for like $50 from an estate sale a few years ago. The house we got it from was so cool. It was a 1950s ranch set back with dramatic landscape windows that peered right into a forest.

Pretty Neat Lamp

The lamp’s pretty neat and would be a dramatic chandelier over the dining room table. We’ll have to put a longer cord on it because our electric source isn’t exactly center over our dining room table. That will be a fun project and a fun end result. Decorating just isn’t my strong suit. I feel in my gut that I want white roman shades…but maybe that’s boring or the easy way out. I wish I could trust my vision but I have no idea what that vision is. What I do know is that our beech-colored wood things do NOT match this dark trim which just throws me in yet another tailspin. But this is fun. It’s been really nice to not have the train/rush to pick up Adeline/rush to get home and make supper thing going on this week. It’s been fantastic to not have a boss or a timecard or obligations other than making our home a home this week. We’ll see what tomorrow brings but man this week went fast.

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Six days left and we’re feeling the pressure. Prep-work can make or break a project. It’s always eye-opening when you start TSPing your walls and realize you’ve been living with these cobwebs all these years. Disgusting. How could we not have painted our walls in the six years we lived here? It amazes me.

Painting the ceiling is difficult.

Painting the ceiling is difficult. First off, the paint is stickier than normal so it doesn’t drip all over you and the floor. Second, with white-on-white it’s hard to tell what you’ve missed or done three times.

After stripped down everything, I decided to put up shades of some sort versus drapes. First off, drapes great if you like to open them up but I think privacy is more the focus in the dining room as opposed to view.

After a full day, the walls are prepped, ceiling has its first coat of paint, and the walls are patched. I took a sample board of trim and went around the perimeter of the room to identify high points that have to be sanded down in order to make the trim fit appropriately when we start to install it. It seems like we’re making progress but in tiny baby steps. We’re both nervous and wondering if we bit off too much for one week. I keep wondering when we’ll feel like we’re on vacation. But we’re so excited thinking about what the end product will be 🙂 We hope!

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What happened to Saturday? Thank goodness for aunts and uncles who picked up the toddler for the day providing us with an uninterrupted, busy day filled with migraines and naps. Lots less productive than anticipated. After a three-hour shopping trip to Owl Hardwood we packed up the 5-er and headed home with a shit-load of wood on the hood.

(this moment made possible by Owl Hardwood’s location of .5 miles from our house)

Seeing as we were a free couple we packed up the day around 5:00, got dressed up, and went to a great dinner at Braxton’s in Oak Brook. It’s amazing how much a house project can take out of you when you’re not in practice.

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